Gov. Ibikunle Amosun on Monday, said that the state government had been losing between N3billion and N5billion monthly to illegal revenue collectors and points across the state.
Amosun stated this while flagging off a policy to eradicate multiplicity in haulage revenue collection held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.
The governor said it was worrisome that the state has lost a lot of revenue that should accrue to it to some unscrupulous elements who had printed their own tickets/stickers and issuing them unsuspecting haulage operators and traders on the roads.
He explained that with the commencement of the harmonisation of the haulage revenue collection, he said a task force had been established to arrest any illegal toll collectors and such suspects would be prosecuted in law courts.
Amosun said with the harmonisation policy the process and procedure of collecting haulage revenue would be streamlined and it would adequately address the lapses and challenges inherent in the unconventional methods.
The governor said the new policy would not only block leakages but it would also safeguard the taxpayers from losing their hard-earned money to unbridled illegal toll collectors affirming that the policy puts a total end all illegal toll points across the State.
He said, “The new policy document will put in place several measures including issuance of coded-pre numbered tickets to be paid for upfront by tax consultants and collectors less commission to government coffers.
” There will also be printed security and uniform tickets and stickers for payers, and setting up of formidable taskforce to monitor the process and toll points for results.
“There will be provision of sign posts at approved toll points and control posts.”
The governor said the policy was not to witch-hunt or to deprive anyone of legitimate means of livelihood but to ensure taxpayers got value for their money and government was not shortchanged by those who had taken advantage of the existing haphazard toll collection method.
Amosun said the 2018 budget which was largely appropriated for capital expenditure was an indication that his administration was development-oriented, and promised to complete all ongoing projects across the state.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Adewale Oshinowo, said prior to the harmonisation of haulage revenue policy , collection from that stream of revenue was haphazardly collected, thereby leading to loss of huge revenue to the state.
Oshinowo said to put an end to the crude method of haulage revenue collection, a technical committee comprising of the officials of the Ministries of Finance, Commerce and Industry, Agriculture, Forestry and Environment was set up, and they fashioned out the modern way of collecting the revenue.
He said with the policy, revenue on agricultural produce, planks, waste products among others would all be paid at once at any of the 63 newly approved points across the state.
He said the revenue consultants or agents collaborating with the relevant ministries would now buy harmonised tickets from selected banks and pay upfront less commission to government coffers based on the targets or benchmark set for them.
The commissioners for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, Environment, Bolaji Oyeleye, and Forestry, Chief Kola Lawal, also called on stakeholders to embrace new policy, in order to shore up the revenue of the state.